A video released this week shows two schoolchildren in Austin, Texas, getting hit by motorists just seconds after getting off their school buses.
School officials wanted the video made public after the first week of school in which more than 900 citations were issued to drivers for illegally passing school buses.
“That was a very significant number. It was shocking,” Austin Independent School District Police Chief Eric Mendez told CBS News. “That’s a lot of violators in a very short time period.”
The video prompted officials in western New York to crack down on motorists in a new school year that has already seen an uptick in school bus violations in some places.
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The incidents in Austin occurred within 24 hours of each other. On Aug. 22, the driver of a black truck turned right at an intersection and struck a 12-year-old boy walking in a crosswalk. The student walked away and the driver was cited for not yielding to a pedestrian.
The next day a student crossing the street in front of a stopped school bus was struck and violently thrown to the ground by a car. The video shows that the bus had its stop sign out and lights on at the time.
That student also walked away from the accident and the driver was ticketed for illegally passing a school bus.
“There’s nothing worse than that phone call where all you can hear are sirens and a child crying,” Amy McFadden, the mother of the 12-year-old, told KXAN in Austin.
“I kept shaking because it’s the most horrible thing to watch. This driver was not some evil person. He was doing what we all do. We all have days when we’re in a hurry.”
According to CBS News, Americans illegally passed school buses more than 13 million times last year; about eight children are killed every year by drivers who ignore school bus stop signs.
Austin seems headed toward a record-breaking year. During the spring 2016 semester, drivers there received 6,600 school bus-related citations, according to school officials.
“When we're close to 1,000 just in the first week of school, we're going to pass 6,600 for the school year," Mendez told KVUE in Austin.
The video from Austin prompted law enforcement officials in Ontario County, New York, last week to have more officers follow school buses around to keep an eye on motorists, according to WHEC in Rochester, N.Y.
In Cobb County, Georgia, school officials released a video showing a car going around a stopped bus in a subdivision and nearly hitting a child.
Sgt. Jon Largent of the Cobb County Police told WTVM in Columbus, Ga., that his department issued 31 percent more citations for school bus violations this August than last August.
“I think a lot of it is media, people are busy in their cars looking at their phones not paying attention,” Largent said.
School police officer Mendez in Austin advises parents to talk to their children about walking safely around school buses.
“Just because you have the right-of-way, still look both ways,” he told CBS News.